The reality is that the vast majority of adults have driven after drinking. Some of these individuals actually have not consumed much alcohol at all. In reality, they may be below the technical legal limit when it comes to blood alcohol content associated with the Pennsylvania law pertaining to driving under the influence. With this noted, it is important for a motorist to have a basic understanding of what is meant by probable cause when it comes to the abilityof a police officer to stop a motorist.
What Constitutes Probable Cause to Stop a Motorist
When it comes to a traffic related stop, a myriad of factors can constitute probable cause for the police action. Common situations that give rise to an initial stop that ultimately leads to a DUI arrest include a traffic infraction or defective safety equipment on a vehicle (a burnt out tail light, for example). A strange driving maneuver may also give rise to probable cause for a traffic stop. For example, a motorist who moves from one lane to another for no apparent reason.
Time of Day
Time of day plays a significant role when it comes to probable cause and stopping a motorist. “Bar time” truly does exist when it comes to law enforcement. The obvious reality is that the incidence of impaired motoring increases later in the day and into the night when people are more likely to be patronizing bars, taverns and restaurants.
21st Century Developments
Laser technology exists that may change the face of probable cause and stopping motorists on a suspicion of driving under the influence. Roadside laser technology now exists that is said to be capable to detecting the presence of alcohol in a motor vehicle. In theory, this 21st century technology may provide probable cause for stopping a motorist upon a suspicion of driving under the influence.
A person who is stopped, arrested and charged with driving under the influence must obtain legal counsel with all deliberate speed. A common viable defense associated with a DUI charge is that a law enforcement official lacked probable cause for making the stop in the first instance. An experienced Pennsylvania DUI attorney is able to ascertain whether or not such a defense is a possibility in a particular case.